28 November 2017

KingCast Presents: Mobile Phones, Police GPS and the Confederate Flag -- Three Thorny SCOTUS Constitutional Cases.

1. Police Tracking Cell Phones. Carpenter v. United States. 

I had wondered about this one just prior to law school in 1990 some twenty-seven (27) years ago when I wrote for the Indianapolis Star, before there was a hint of digitized newspapers.

Fourth Amendment scholar Orin Kerr contends that the idea of tracking someone's movements in public is not new. The police, for instance, tail a suspect, or check on his alibi. Only when they search the suspect's home or person do they have to get a court-approved warrant. Kerr contends that the cell-cite location records at issue in this case "are basically the network equivalent of public observation that traditionally would not be protected" by a warrant requirement. 

After all, he notes, the cell-site location information is not maintained by government decree. Rather, wireless providers keep the data recorded by cell towers in order to monitor and improve their service. Nathan Freed Wessler of the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging that argument in the Supreme Court. 

This kind of cellphone technology "really changes the game and threatens to upend our expectation of privacy in the digital age," he says. After all, he argues, this wasn't a case of the police following a shady person. "They decided after the fact they wanted to try to tie him [Carpenter] to a crime," Wessler says, "and never before in the history of this country has the government had the power to press rewind on someone's life and chart out where they were going over the course of four months." 

2. See also United States v. Jones on GPS Tracking. Basically it is an unlawful search and violates a reasonable expectation of Privacy.

3.  Moore v. Governor Bryant on Confederate Flag Challenge.
The High Court dodged a well-tendered Confederate Flag lawsuit out of Mississippi.
"The central question was whether the man had standing to sue — which depended on whether he had experienced an 'injury in fact.' The appeals court didn't deny that the flag might have a deep and personal effect on the man. They said he demonstrated that he feels stigmatized. "But feeling stigmatized, they said, isn't the kind of injury you can sue the state over." 
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Moore argued that the lower court interpreted the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause too narrowly. 

[Carlos Moore (Law firm link)] called for the Supreme Court to declare Mississippi statutes on how the flag should be designed and displayed as unconstitutional. He also wanted the justices to deem unconstitutional a statute that called for schoolchildren in the state — such as his own daughter — to be taught "proper respect" for the flag and for the " 'official pledge of the State of Mississippi,' which reads: I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God."

"The message in Mississippi's flag has always been one of racial hostility and insult and it is pervasive and unavoidable by both children and adults," Moore's appeal reads. "The state's continued expression of its message of racial disparagement sends a message to African-American citizens of Mississippi that they are second class citizens."

Moore said in court documents that for him, exposure to the flag is "painful, threatening, and offensive." He added that seeing the flag at courthouses creates a "hostile work and business environment."

....speaking of hostile, I tweeted Tucker & Moore yesterday because the Confederate Flag mentality fuels outright hostility, violence and deceit manifest by some high-dollar white attorneys who deem it perfectly acceptable to physically attack me and lie about it whilst I am lawfully running video of a public legal proceeding. Mark W. Rattan and his purported attorney Terry Johnson. Even though Attorney Johnson has not actually signed a single filing, in direct contravention of law. Specifically WI Stat. §808.05 Watch:

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